Forqueran excels in public speaking
Growing up in Malta Bend, Kelsey Forqueran was surrounded by agriculture.
"I look out my window and there's a combine and cornfield or somebody's cattle, no matter where I lived," she said. "It was something I was kind of always exposed to and it was an industry I had an interest in just because I saw it around me all the time."
For that reason, she joined Malta Bend FFA as a freshman.
"I knew that FFA was really the best way to learn about that industry and be involved in it," said Forqueran the daughter of Jamie and Doreena Forqueran.
Through the years she has been very active, both locally and statewide.
She was the only Malta Bend FFA student to be honored with the State FFA Degree at the Missouri FFA Convention April 15 in Columbia. It was there she also learned she was selected as the State FFA secretary for 2011-12. (See story at http://www.marshallnews.com/story/1719680.html)
As part of her Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE), Forqueran works at KMMO radio in Marshall doing agriculture communications, working every other Sunday.
The other part of her SAE was set up after her FFA advisor, Terry Jenkins, asked if it was something she might be interested in doing.
"During the summer I buy sheep and goats from exhibitors at the Missouri State fair and I resell them to the University of Missouri livestock judging team for them to use for practice," she said, adding it was once an FFA project of Jenkin's daughter. "It is a really good opportunity it's not something a lot of people do I thought it was really a unique project."
After she picks the approximately 15 sheep and 15 goats up from the State Fair in August, she keeps the animals on Jenkins' farm and travels there twice a day to feed them until they are large enough to go to the University.
"Mr. Jenkins has always been nice enough to let me keep them at his house because he has a place to keep them and I don't," she said. "I always wanted goats, but mom would never let me keep them in the back yard."
The project has helped her learn about networking.
"It taught me how to work well with other businesses," she said. "and learn how important networking is and having connections with other businesses."
FFA has taught Kelsey many things she doesn't think she could have learned in other activities.
"It has definitely taught me to be an outgoing person and to be comfortable with who I am. Back when I was a freshman I started doing public speaking and before I joined FFA that would have have been something I would never been able to do because I was terrified to get up and talk in front of people I didn't know," she said.
Since then, she has been in the top three of the Missouri FFA speaking contest for three consecutive years, and took second place last fall in the Missouri Farm Bureau speaking contest.
Kelsey has several favorite FFA activities.
"This past summer I went to FFA camp for the first time and that was really a great experience for me. I met a lot of FFA members from chapters I never heard of before and I made a lot of friends. I really learned a lot at the leadership sessions. I think it helped me grow as an individual and as a leader," she said. "I also loved national convention. It's a really great learning opportunity and it's really cool to walk down the street and there are thousands and thousands of blue jackets. When you love FFA it is really kind of overwhelming to be able to see FFA take over Indy for that week."
Her other favorite activity is the local FFA banquet held at the end of each year.
"I really love especially seeing the younger members thrive and do well. It means a lot to me as a member of our chapter to be able to see all of the success we've been having over the year," she said.
She would definitely recommend to others to join FFA.
"It really changed my life. It is really hard to describe sometimes how big of an impact FFA has really had on me. It's opened so many doors for me that I am going to have later on in life that I will have a lot of opportunities," she said. "I feel like it is an opportunity that everybody should take."
Kelsey has served as an officer for three straight years in the Malta Bend chapter. She was secretary as a sophomore, president as a junior and as a senior served as vice-president. She also served as the Area 6 vice-president, before becoming a state officer for 2011-12.
As a freshman, Kelsey took second place in Division 1 speaking, was third in Division 2 as a sophomore, was second in Advanced Public Speaking as a junior and was second as a senior at the Missouri Farm Bureau contest held in the Fall.
"I think I had a good run," she said modestly. In each of those competitions she had won the Central District contest before advancing to state.
She also participated in several Career Development Event teams: Livestock as a freshman, Poultry as a sophomore, which advanced to state and was a member of the Entomology team as a junior and senior.
At Malta Bend High School she was very active as well, serving as the president of National Honor Society and vice-president of the senior class and being a member of SADD. She was a cheerleader for all four years and also played basketball. For three years she played volleyball and for two years she was in student council and speech and debate.
She is a member of Union Baptist Church and youth group.
Although she is very busy with activities at school, in her spare time she enjoys playing guitar, which she took up about five years ago. She also enjoys photography, writing and talking.
In the fall, Kelsey will attend Central Methodist University to major in communications.
"After graduating college I hope to get a job at a local newspaper or radio station, hopefully writing or talking about agriculture," she said.
Her ultimate career goal, however, is to have her own nationally broadcast agriculture radio show, like Trent Loos.
"I just think he is so cool, I really look up to him," she said, adding that she listens to his show all the time. "That would be the biggest dream of mine."